The Gender Pay Gap Narrowed for the First Time Since 2007

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Photo: Thomas M. Barwick/Getty Images

The gender pay gap isn’t supposed to actually close until something like 2152, but on Wednesday the Wall Street Journal reported that for the first time since the recession there’s discernible progress. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2016 the gender pay gap closed by 0.9 of a percentage point, up from 79.6 percent in 2015 to 80.5 percent. In other words, women in the U.S. now earn 81 cents for every dollar a man makes.

Those percentages are drawn from the median income for men and women 15 years or older who work full time. In 2016, that number was $51,640 for men and $41,554 for women.

As the Wall Street Journal points out, after narrowing significantly in the ’80s and ’90s, the gender pay gap froze somewhere around 79 percent in the early aughts. And of course it’s worse for working moms, single moms, black women, and Native-American women.

At least some of the narrowing was thanks to the fact that the median income for men fell last year. Elise Gould, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, said that the pictures was “not quite as rosy” when it came to men’s median earnings over time. Maybe they should try … asking for a raise.

The Gender Pay Gap Narrowed for the First Time Since 2007